There are certain directors that I’ve come to expect a certain level of excellence from in their films. People like Mike Conway, Paul Solet, Alex Ferrari and the director of this particular film as well, Jake Kennedy. My first encounter with Jake Kennedy came when I reviewed a short that he had on the Fangoria Blood Drive II DVD. I was impressed with his skills in putting that short together, so when he wrote to me and said that his new feature length zombie film was completed, I jumped at the chance to review it.
Days of Darkness is a pretty typical zombie movie in many respects. A fragment from a comet breaks off and lands on the earth. Suddenly, there are zombies everywhere, devouring the living, and there’s only a small group of living people left in the area. They’ve holed up at an old Norad microwave facility. They have almost no food, only one of them (the jerk naturally) has a gun and two of the girls are magically pregnant with alien, hybrid zombie babies. Basically, like many other zombie movies, it all comes down to how well the group can work together to survive.
Now…that said, this isn’t just a typical zombie movie. To start with, this doesn’t have the typical, "someone gets bit and then later they become a zombie" scenerio. In this case, people were actually infected by breathing in the parasites left by the explosive impact of the comet fragment, which then attach themselves to their major organs and manifest in their brains while at the same time using the male genitalia as a womb for their own fetal reproduction. Somehow, this small group of people managed to avoid infection (well, except for the two impregnated girls), and the fight for survival begins.
One of the things that makes this movie truly great is the acting. Without exception, every single character in this movie was played professionally and perfectly according to the personality of the character being portrayed. What else was great about it is that the mix of personalities was really just perfectly written for this film. You have a guy and his fiance, a tough but really hot chick who seems like she can totally take care of herself, a strong-willed porn actress and her virgin, teenage daughter, two guys who sell expensive cars, a gay guy who watched his daughter get torn apart in front of him, an ex actor (the jerk with the gun) and a creepy religious nut whose brother was infected and is now being kept chained up in the basement of the microwave station.
As far as the effects, the cinematography, the editing, and every other technical aspect of this film, they were all highly professional, and at the very pinnacle of the best that independent cinema has to offer.
The creature fx in various parts of the film were not only excellent, but highly creative and took us to places that other zombie movies haven’t dared to go. The creativity level with the effects and make-up was extremely high all around. The CG work with the comet at the beginning was also really well done and looked just fabulous.
Jake Kennedy is definitely at the top of his game, and I’d love to someday see what he could do with a multi-million dollar budget. Hopefully he’ll get that opportunity. In the mean time, if you get the chance to see this film…see it. It’s one of the best zombie movies out there, and runs the full range from shock to gore to tension breaking humor. It’s a must see, and I don’t say that about a lot of films, but this one definitely is.
This film should be making it’s way around to various film festivals soon, so if you get a chance to see it, make it a point to. If you don’t, I’m sure you’ll be seeing it on DVD soon enough.